It’s that special time of year, when we celebrate the birth of the Cosmic Jewish Zombie

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009 · 84 Comments »

I was skimming around the blogs and news sites this evening while waiting to hear if Martha Coakley won in Massauchussets, when this post from Riverdaughter made me snort-laugh. She quoted the following Urban Dictionary definition of Christianity:

The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

Sounds right to me.

Unfortunately, some of Riverdaughter’s commenters were not amused. They felt that their religion was being mocked, and that by extension they were being mocked, and so forth.

So, to quote Jon Favreau, let me be clear: I believe it’s possible to think Christianity is a hilarious bag of intellectual nonsense, yet at the same time to respect individual Christians and their personal faith commitments. More than that: I think it’s possible to respect the Church, its traditions, and its intellectual history.

I believe that because that’s how I feel. You can click on the Godbags or Religion categories on this blog to see my attitude towards Christianity as a thought system, and if you’re a believer you’ll probably be offended. But know this: I’ve also spent a surprising chunk of my life studying Christian theology and Church history. I decided when I was 13 that I would do my dissertation on Pauline soteriology (this, like so many things I planned as a youngster, did not come to pass). And I have enormous affection for Catholic customs, for the radical feminist nuns I’ve known, and even for the freaky Franciscans at that one place I stayed who were still rocking the whole barefoot thing. Also, I’m a fanatic for Christmas and every year I put a beautiful little Nativity scene under the tree, complete with a sweet Mother Mary and her little Cosmic Jewish Zombie baby.

The thing is, it’s really important to cultivate an atmosphere where people are free to mock religion mercilessly. See, you thought that sentence was going to end differently, didn’t you? You thought I was going to stress the importance of respecting each other’s religious beliefs, no matter how bizarre. And it is important, unquestionably, to respect everyone’s right to believe whatever they wish. Freedom of religion, freedom of worship, freedom of thought. But I maintain that reverence for religion in general is frankly dangerous. Dig it: religious beliefs are some of the most pernicious things on earth. It is amazing the shit people think they’re entitled to do when God is talking in their ear. As Voltaire said, “As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities.”

So let’s all be friendly and respect each other’s right to believe in Jewish zombies or flying prophets or talking snakes or whatever, and also respect each other’s right to laugh like a nut at all that crazy bullshit. Square?

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84 Responses to “It’s that special time of year, when we celebrate the birth of the Cosmic Jewish Zombie”

  1. Violet says:

    Coakley wins! http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/top/all/6760266.html

  2. Violet says:

    Also this:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/09/us/politics/09mass.html

  3. Dark Angel Cryo says:

    Cool, another female senator. What’s the total up to now?

  4. Violet says:

    She’s still gotta beat that Republican dude in the general, but that will almost certainly happen. It is Massachussets, after all. There are 17 women Senators now, so Coakley will make 18.

  5. Dark Angel Cryo says:

    Oh wait, didn’t read the article fully. She just got the nomination. I haven’t really been following politics lately. Still she’s a democrat running in Massachusetts, how likely is she to lose?

  6. bluelyon says:

    Dear FSM, I love you Violet.

  7. RKMK says:

    Ceiling Cat approofs dis holiday message.

  8. jumpjet says:

    I hope Coakley becomes a fire-breathing liberal in the Senate. We don’t have enough of those.

  9. madamab says:

    Jesus was Jewish? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! Why didn’t anyone tell me?

    ;-)

    Go Martha! Go Martha!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnQCD1_pj7w

  10. cwaltz says:

    Heh
    Let’s substitute the word women for religion and see if you feel the same way. Being disrespectful isn’t funny and it doesn’t cultivate constructive conversation. Insinuating someone is a lunatic for their belief system(which by the way is just as integral to some as say their gender), I’m fairly certain isn’t going to be found in a course on how to win friends and influence people(and I really was under the impression that somewhere down the line that was something people were hoping to do). I think RD is a wonderful wickedly smart person but I think her tone in that post was way off if she wanted to cultivate anything more than an echo chamber response. I chimed in not because I have any great love for the Catholic Church, on the contrary I think the leadership(emphasis on church leadership) of the church are some of the biggest hypocrites to walk the face of this Earth, but because there are many people of faith that aren’t hypocrites. They have a belief system, try real hard to follow it and commit no harm in the process. They deserved better then to be told that what they believe is the equivalent of a fairy tale. Particularly when I do feel the jury is out on alot of questions and science still hasn’t unraveled each and every mystery. Let’s face it they can’t even explain why I’m creating kidney stones so I’m being very generous with that assertion. The way I see it when science gets things perfect and can prove to me that faith is some childhood notion they’ll have more than enough time to gloat and call people like myself foolish and fanciful.

    Fortunately, I’ve gotten quite used to being known as the backwards unedumacated hillbilly clinging to my guns and Bible(which I don’t take literally)so I didn’t take much of it too personally. It wasn’t the first time I disagreed with the premise of a post and I daresay it will be the last. I was in the next thread counting the number of people in a Congress who don’t believe that I have the intelligence or a right to make reproductive choices for myself and cheering Martha Coakley on.

    Oh and when people tell me God is talking in their ear I remind them of the game telephone. Unless I get to hear the converation too, I’m gonna have to assume something may have been lost in translation.

  11. Violet says:

    Let’s substitute the word women for religion and see if you feel the same way.

    Why? There’s no parallel there.

  12. Michele Braa-Heidner says:

    I too have studied world religions and I think that the problem with monotheistic religions: the belief that there is only one God, as found in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, is that they are intolerant to diversity and to any other belief systems but their own. Prior to monotheistic religions, there were no religious wars because everyone respected the diversity of the Gods and Goddesses that each region believed in. There was no, “My God is the only God and if you don’t believe in my God, you must die!” Of course there were wars over other things such as territory, power & greed but not about religion. So yes, I agree that monotheistic religions because of their intolerance to diversity are dangerous.

    I will leave you with a joke that I made up recently:

    A woman dies and floats up to heaven and there standing inside the pearly gates is a large beautiful dog. The woman proceeds to the gate and asks the dog: “Excuse me, where can I find God?” The dog says “Yeah, I get that all the time, for some reason humans insist on spelling my name backwards, welcome to heaven, I am Dog.”

    tehe

  13. Daphne says:

    My denomination was founded by the very colorful Aimee Semple McPherson. She led a tragic yet extraordinary life, and left an amazing legacy.

    I feel sad about the anti-religious talk. I know I can’t persuade anyone to change how they feel about it, but I must say, it’s part of what makes it hard for me to self-identify as a feminist. Like no matter what, I’m still an outsider here.

    Oh well. Merry Christmas.

  14. Grace says:

    My motto about religion or any particular faith is “live and let live.” Just don’t try to convert me, judge me, pigeonhole me, or demonize me, because I don’t happen to believe in what you believe. Atheists and agnostics comprise only 15 % of the U.S. population; definetely a minority but regardless, freedom of religion also guarantees freedom of not having any religion, so be it.

  15. Sandra S. says:

    Cwaltz, I don’t mean to go all feminist on you, but I think that supporting an oppressive system from the bottom up is still bad, even if it isn’t As bad as imposing it from the top down. The fact of the matter is that there are wonderful, generous, fair-minded people of faith. But I object to their support of a system which oppresses people. I don’t have respect for my own tendency to be complicit in the face of the misogyny or homophobia or any other injustice. Why should I have respect for the same in others?

  16. Adrienne in CA says:

    The thing is, it’s really important to cultivate an atmosphere where people are free to mock religion mercilessly.

    Word.

    *****A

  17. tinfoil hattie says:

    I can’t possibly talk about the Catholic church without ridiculing it. The Catholic church’s very foundation is hatred of women. What the hell is there to respect? I don’t respect Islam, either. Or any religion, for that matter.

  18. steve says:

    Very nice article. Watch out though.. a long day of praying can make them thirsty.. for the blood of non-believers! haha.. no really I would only disagree on one point; respecting church, faith, intellectual traditions. We should be studying the whole mess as history by now. I’m thinking we need to be more aggressive in pointing out the sham here. The religious are always converting this way and that, pagan, christian, buddha, islam; a bunch of people so constantly shifting ‘beliefs’ should be easy to convince. If only the tigger were a white man and the trope a metaphor for his parents, who are him, who are us, wh…

  19. Jackie says:

    As a woman, the Catholic Church has nothing but hatred and contempt for me. Why should I respect it?

  20. datechguy says:

    As a guest here Violet I have to agree that the ability to mock religion is essential to not only a free society but the free practice of religion.

    As a Roman Catholic I think it’s ironic that “disrespect for women” card is played the day after the feast of the Immaculate Conception when we celebrate the most perfect completely human example. Mary.

    We Catholics get a lot of flack for our adoration of Mary from other Christians, we just add it to the grief we get from everyone else.

    We don’t mind it, it’s part of the job description for Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. If Christ can take nails through hands and feet we can take a personal opinion expressed on a blog.

    I have said on my own blog and I still maintain there is only one reason to be Christian in general and Catholic in particular…

    …Because it is true.

    I always advise people the same thing when they don’t believe or have questions, simply look for truth, if you search for truth you will always be on the right path.

    People are a valuable thing and I’m certainly not going to throw a reasonable person to the curb over beliefs, (that’s against the rules too) and deep down I still have high hopes for you on the religion front.

    Either way a Merry Christmas to all and may God bless all who post and read here.

  21. teresainpa says:

    yeah, it’s funny until it is your shit that is being mocked ( not to mention the mocking generally is ignorant of facts). Then you realize how juvenile it is. In addition it hardly helps when trying to start a progressive movement when you constantly say dumb shit about the majority of progressives.

  22. Honora says:

    While it would be smarter for me to just move on, the feisty nuns that taught me in elementary school encouraged me to always stand tall and to stand my ground.

    As a practicing Catholic and a staunch Feminist (despite the failing grades I often get from some here), I must say that I am equally troubled by the comment that Feminists can not be Christian as I am by the comments that the Catholic Church hates women. Of course, I think both are wrong.

    The Catholic Church has many flaws, but to ignore the good Catholic people do (through the institution that is their Church) is unfair. The Catholic Bishops do not vote in Congress. While I would rather they not speak for me in the public arena, they are citizens and have the right to do so. Politicians decide how to vote for countless reasons, to assume that the Catholic Bishops control them allows those politicians cover.

    I can hear the ‘tax-exempt status’ cries arising. It is settled law, with which you may disagree, that churches are not allowed to endorse candidates, but are free to lobby. The Catholic Church is much less egregious than many other churches in abiding to this rule. (AA and Fundamental Christan churches come to mind.)

    I personally believe that Jesus was a Communist sympathizing, radical Feminist, especially considering the time He lived. I agree that the Catholic Church controlled by men has made a mess of His vision. I strive to be a voice of sanity within that institution.

  23. teresainpa says:

    monotheistic religions because of their intolerance to diversity are dangerous.

    sorry no facts there.

    ps

    The fact of the matter is that there are wonderful, generous, fair-minded people of faith. But I object to their support of a system which oppresses people.

    No one is telling you to respect the religion, but respect people’s right to have whatever religion or lack of religion as they see fit. Why is that so hard?

  24. Against Rape says:

    So now those of us who are Christians know we are neither welcome at Riverdaughter’s blog nor at “Dr.” Socks’ blog. Oh, we’re welcome you say? So long as we don’t mind our Saviour being called a cosmic Jewish zombie, so long as we don’t mind having our intellects impugned by “great minds” like yours. Why thank you SO much.

    Goodbye and keep up the great work at turning people off to feminism and the left. You’re a hindrance to both causes but you’ve gotta be you, don’t you? As F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in his “Notebooks,” “She was going to be candid if she had to bitch everybody in the world to do it.”

    Yes, Violet, we knew you were an atheist; it was clear from your cute little “godbag” section, but we always ignored that section because we thought if we let you do your thing, you’d let us do our thing. But it never quite works that way with atheists, does it? You all eventually have to jump up and down, shouting “I’m smarter than you!” and “There is no God!” Pitiful, truly pitiful. It is possible to overcome atheism but first you have to admit to yourself that the universe does not revolve around you. Perhaps you’re still too young to see that. Good luck in your journey.

  25. purplefinn says:

    cwaltz says: (10)
    “Oh and when people tell me God is talking in their ear I remind them of the game telephone. Unless I get to hear the converation too, I’m gonna have to assume something may have been lost in translation.” Love it!

    Some religious beliefs seem very immature to me. Some people really do believe that god is “making a list” – being god, there is no need to check it twice, however. I met some very nice people who believe that the 2nd coming is imminent. I got the impression that they’d like to see us all dead, just to prove a point.

    datechguy says: (19)
    “…….the feast of the Immaculate Conception when we celebrate the most perfect completely human example. Mary.”

    I was watching a PBS program, Picturing Mary, last night. I turned it off when they described her as a virgin. That seems to be the most important thing about her.

    “…if you search for truth you will always be on the right path.” (datechguy)
    Mahatma Gandhi had this to say:
    “..God is Truth and Truth is God.” And I say no one has a corner on god or truth, but I agree with the search!

    Violet, You’re a breath of fresh air! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  26. AniEm says:

    Interesting discussion. I no longer practice Catholicism and its misogyny as well as those clergy who are pedophiles are beyond reprehensible.

    At the same time, thanks to inner city parochial schools, women like my sisters and I were educated to pursue careers beyond the factory jobs our parents had. I’m not sure if my sisters and I became feminists despite OR because of parochial school.

    As far as the Urban Dictionary definition, my guess is the allegorical Jesus would have laughed. Blasphemy was an integral part of the character of Jesus and fundamentalists, Catholic and Protestant, have lost sight of that.

  27. Swannie says:

    What I fail to understand , is that while people can immedialtely distinguish between an administration of a country, and its people e.g. the opppressive Government of Iran and the Iranian population; they do not distinguish the difference between the power structure of an organised religion , and the people who make up the “faithful”
    I think this is an important distinction.
    That being said , I also think there is a responsiblity of the “faithful” of any religion to recognise oppression when it is practiced by their own religiuos leaders. If you do not recognise the oppression practiced by the religion you “follow” , then you are part of the problem , and you are supporting the oppression.
    The Catholic Church has oppressed women ,jews, other christian sects, and non christians for centuries . They practice gender apartheid in their clergy . They ignore the science of disease prevention and support the suffering and deaths of millions by attemtpting to forbid the use of condoms. They are guilty of some of the most egregious crimes against children in the past three decades, but somehow they are “exempt” from criticism or jokes?? Even the “worship of the most blessed virgin Mary ” only brings her to the status of almost and not quite as important as god who is a man , and demands she be a virgin and mother ,making her relevance dependent on her obedience and “serving men”
    My earth centered spirituality does not ask that I be lesser in status to anyone, or does it tolerate oppression .And we can take a joke … Namaste

  28. KatherineSpins says:

    I’m not sure how you’re supposed to separate mocking a belief system from mocking those who subscribe to those beliefs. And when I see postings and comments like these, it seems like I have to either apologize for my beliefs or (more likely) stay quiet and not object when the belief system is ridiculed.

    I can’t even think of parallel mockeries for other belief systems because my mind simply doesn’t work that way. There are matters of belief and dogma that are worth debating… but I don’t think mocking is a productive way to get there.

  29. Three Wickets says:

    When one has faith, real faith, that faith becomes as much a part of the person as one’s gender, skin color, sexual orientation, physical appearance, emotional core, one’s soul. So if being able to laugh at that is important to someone with a secular mindset, then fine, but try and understand what you are laughing at. Deeply personal and even private faith, for most, is more important to the individual than the institutional dictates that challenge secular justice in the broader society. See, I get all that, and I’m not special and haven’t been religious a day in my life. Why so hard for other seemingly emotionally intelligent people to get it.

  30. DarthVelma says:

    Against Rape,

    I find it absolutely hilarious that in the same post where you whine about how atheists always resort to telling the religious “I’m smarter than you” you turn right around and tell Violet that as an atheist she’s self-centered and immature.

    Go back and read that Bible verse about the beam in your own eye.

  31. jackyt says:

    “…Because it is true.”

    No. You believe it is true. I respect your right to hold your beliefs, and I insist on my right to reject your beliefs.

    The most common response when I acknowledge that I am an atheist is, “but, but, but, you SEEM like a nice person”.

    And you know what? I am not a bad person because I don’t agree with your idea of the truth. And those who share your beliefs invariably think they have a right to correct me about my beliefs.

    So, derision of your beliefs is off limits only when derision of my beliefs is off limits!

  32. Jackie says:

    datechguy says:

    As a Roman Catholic I think it’s ironic that “disrespect for women” card is played the day after the feast of the Immaculate Conception when we celebrate the most perfect completely human example. Mary.

    Oh yes, Mary. The most perfect completely human example. And why is that? Oh, because she’s a virgin. What a wonderful example for females to look up to. A virgin mother, something completely unattainable.

  33. Lexia says:

    It’s ridiculous to equate the Catholic Virgin Mary with the Catholic projection of Christ and God as men-as-gods (God the Father, The Son, etc, remember?)

    The most important Catholic female figure is a biological impossibility and yet one more powerful weapon to use against women for simply being human. No woman can be both a virgin and a mother, at least not in any way those childless Fathers of the Church would consider acceptable, so it’s one more way women are set up to fail. She is, however, the entirely predictable female ideal to come from an organization where only the voices of men are heard: a perfect Freudian fantasy who worships her son as a god and who has never had sex with any man.

  34. Katherine B. says:

    Well, I say Happy Saturnalia – the pagan feast upon which Christmas was grafted to try to win over all those pesky pagans. The thing that annoys me the most is the complete unwillingness of Christians to acknowledge that their core beliefs are simply warmed over paganism. A god/man born of a virgin, sacrificed and then resurrected were ALL pre-existing pagan beliefs. And Easter is named after a pagan goddess of fertility, Estarte, whose symbols were the rabbit and the egg. But we don’t want to look at any of this do we because that might cause us to question and in religion there is no questioning.

  35. cwaltz says:

    Violet

    Actually, Dakini says that they are exploring a GENE that they say may explain why some people are hard wired to believe. So it very well may be the case that biology is the case just as it is in gender.

  36. cwaltz says:

    Sandra,

    I don’t believe I have to choose between feminism and faith. I am the first to condemn the Catholic hierarchy for their behavior toward women and children. I consider them human rights abominations. However, I am not going to mock EVERYONE who believes in God or a higher power. I wouldn’t do that anymore than I would mock someone for their gender or their orientation. I think someone’s belief system is the essence of who they are just as those two other things are.

  37. cwaltz says:

    Swannie,

    Exactly! I consider it my responsibility as a person of faith to tell my government and the Catholic power structure that they don’t speak for me. My belief subset is different than their and they have no right to inflict their belief system as the ultimate word of God on me.

  38. la-t-da says:

    “I strive to be a voice of sanity within that institution.”

    Honora, what to you do to fight anti-choice views within the doors of your church? What do you do to promote gay marriage? What do you do to promote separation of church and state?

    I am not asking in a mean way. I really do want to know what those that identify as Christians do to confront views of inequality within the doors of their church in face to face ways.

  39. cwaltz says:

    Katherine,

    I am not sure where my belief system stems from. Is it hardwired into me to believe in a higher power? Quite possibly. Is it possible that it is because I grew up in a household that nurtured religion by taking me to church on Sundays(Roman Catholic) or Wedenesday and Sundays when I was older(Christian)? Another good possibility. I just know that I do believe that their is a guiding hand in the universe(from a religious standpoint I’m a mess because I don’t believe in hell and believe in reincarnation while attempting to follow the teaching of Christ which by the way is not what I was TAUGHT to believe as a child so go figure).

    Anyway, I believe my faith is just a part of who I am. I certainly don’t think I should be considered to be any less intelligent for something that just IS a part of me.

  40. cwaltz says:

    jackyt,

    I’m married to an atheist turned agnostic. I don’t believe that believing in God should necessarily mean that you are a good person nor do I believe that NOT believing in God means you are a bad person. Religious people don’t have the market cornered on morality(and I say that loud and often). :)

  41. Janis says:

    so she’s allowed to mock the religioin but not the believers? Excuse me, but isn’t that what that cosmic zombie crack DID? Mock the RELIGION and not the RELIGIOUS?

  42. Swannie says:

    Cwaltz .. ( I always want to say lets dance to you , but I have tendency to be corny that way ..forgive me )
    I was raised Catholic as well, and the first beliefs that fell away from me were the beliefs in eternal damnation , and limbo for the unbaptized . To me, those artifices were so obviously constructs of pompous theologians, that even at the age of 10, I dismissed them as irrelevant . In the vastness that is the universe, no deity could be that cruel or capricious with the souls of children . I have memories of past lives, and have had them since I was a young kid, so I believe in reincarnation as well. One of my earliest memories at age 5 was going around telling people ” I KNOW I didnt HAVE to come back.. I CHOSE to come back ” and much later, I realised why people thought I was a wierd little kid . The memories are not spectacular , or even complete … but very real.. From the time I was about five ..running up the steps always included an impulse to reach down and pull up my long heavy skirts …or reaching for matches and candles in the dark intead of trying to turn on the light . Those kind of things.. and the years and years of chinese dreams as well..but I digress…
    Even if Jesus existed, I think that the great organised religions based on his life have digressed as well,very very far … from his simple message .I am astounded how that simple message has been twisted . Come to think of it , if you go by the stories of Jesus … or so it seems to me ; even he, according to the stories, made fun of the hypocrites of his day , called them out ; and don’t you think by standers laughed when he chased the moneylenders from the temple?

    I also think that everyone is here for their own reasons, and their spiritual path is as precious and sacred to them as mine is to me , and that laughter can be a part of that path , because we are human and laughing at oneself is a gift. HA for ME it is a necessity ;)
    I totally respect anyones belief system , unless it involves oppression and harming others to be fulfilled.
    All I ever ask is that mine be respected equally as well .
    BLESSED SOLSTICE EVERYONE !!

  43. TheOtherDelphyne says:

    Oh, my, Violet – what HAVE you (and RD) done?? I may just have to make another Pay Pal donation in gratitude for this post!

    Jackyt, my mother tried to get me to be a Roman Catholic. Fail. I used to be mad at Mary for never opening her mouth and protesting. That is, until I heard decades ago that virgin meant belonging to no man. It was then I concluded that Mary had been kidnapped and held prisoner by the Catholic Church which continues to spread ridiculous propaganda about her.

    I decided to remove her from their sinister grip, unbind and ungag her and, lo and behold, she spoke to me as the wind, the water, the birds, a baby alpaca – and I realized that she is the beauty of Nature and the Earth. The Earth as Virgin – belonging to no man and not the Catholic Church.

  44. TheOtherDelphyne says:

    Sorry – I meant Jackie, not Jackyt…

  45. RKMK says:

    It seems that many Christian/Catholics are Taking It Personally (“It” being criticism of a a society/social institution on the whole), as men tend to Take It Personally when we comment on and criticize patriarchy. A gentle reminder of “if the shoe don’t fit, don’t wear it” principle may be appropriate here.

  46. RKMK says:

    (Furthermore, I would like to note that there’s none of this drama in the Church of Caturday Saints There is only purring and fuzziness and, yes, occasionally the odd pouncing incident.)

  47. Kat says:

    I was raised Catholic and the convent school I went to gave me a compassionate shelter from an abusive home. I know many others didn’t have such an experience. I remember the nuns providing lunch and shoes for those girls who didn’t have it. My school encouraged us girls to learn as much as we could and to have self-respect, even if we came from the not-great neighborhoods. I trace my passion for service and justice to that community — there were some bad eggs, no doubt about it, but overall I am so grateful that they provided such a safe, kind place.

    Blasting hierarchies of power is absolutely necessary — in churches like the Catholic Church, in D.C., wherever. My faith makes me believe that and I’m a “workers unite and fight the power” kind of person for sure.

    Whenever I go down to the custodial office to talk or meet, I notice the Catholic statues and pictures. I think people’s relationships to their belief systems are complicated. I remember talking to the super about praying to Mary when her son was sick, and how it helped her get through the tough time. But, we never talk about that kind of thing “upstairs,” which is interesting, now that I think about it. It’s a private thing I don’t really talk about much.

    Oh, and I wanted to thank Honora for her post above.

  48. TheOtherDelphyne says:

    RKMK – that link is hilarious! I got to the theology part and finally stopped laughing! Thanks!

  49. RKMK says:

    Just remember, TheOtherDelphyne: so long as you have a kitty, teh Holy Kitten is always with you. *nods sagely*

  50. gxm17 says:

    The Urban Dictionary entry does not mention followers. It is a description of the mythology surrounding the religion. There is nothing in the “definition” that attacks individual Christians. Perhaps the reason it’s so “offensive” is because it’s dead on. To a non-believer that’s what the Christian myth looks like. But is this really blasphemy? Atheists don’t believe in god so how can I blaspheme an imaginary being?

    As I said over on TC, I think some folks are confusing tolerating religion with validating religion. Tolerance does not require me to endorse any given religion’s mythology nor must I silently nod in agreement when a believer insists upon presenting myth as reality. I show respect for your faith by not attending or disrupting your church services. When I am required to attend a church service, such as a wedding, I show respect by not shouting out rejoinders or laughing aloud at the priest’s sermon, instead I just look at the pretty stained glass and keep my mouth shut. Public discourse is a different matter. I have just as much right as the next person to speak my mind, and doing so is not “disrespectful.” Speaking out against the absurdity and inhumanity of religious (or political) doctrine is necessary for a free society.

    And, let’s not be diverted from addressing the very important point regarding the separation between church and state, and between mythology and science. Keep in mind that there are those who endeavor to have religious mythology taught as scientific theory. Not to mention the reason for RD’s post: those who want to deny all women, not just the religious, the right to bodily autonomy. This is where we arrive when we allow ourselves to confuse tolerating religion (and its mythology) with validating it.

    I’m sure it must be a wonderful thing to have a faith that resonates within one’s heart and gives one’s life meaning. But this is a private truth. It is not a universal truth. And, it is not my civic duty to substantiate someone else’s personal revelation.

    FWIW, I think one can be a feminist and follower of faith. Believe me, I am fully aware that the fight against these patriarchal institutions can’t be fought solely from the outside and I’m sincerely thankful to those who are working from the inside.

  51. TheOtherDelphyne says:

    Yes, indeedy – I saw that at Stations of the Holy Kitty Crossing icons, stop #3. At Station #5, I fell to my knees, tears streaming down my face from knowing the great joy of the story of the Metamorphosis!

    I need that laugh today!

  52. Grace says:

    Additional thoughts on the subject of religion:

    1) Anything and everything having to do with religion should be a PRIVATE matter and an individual right, guaranteed by the Constitution. 2) Church and State should be separate at all times without exceptions. 3) We are all entitled to think whatever the hell we want, as long as we don’t interfere, intrude, or violate other people’s right to do exactly the same. Otherwise, social equality and democracy are a stupid joke, and we become just like any other politically oppressive regime.

    Now, some personal sharing: Even though I don’t believe in God or any higher power, I deeply respect other people who do in their own space and time, and who also happen to respect my own space. I have close friends who are Catholic and Jewish, as well as agnostic, but we all share similar values about the importance of integrity, respect, ethical behavior, and social consciousness.

    HRC is a Christian methodist who I admire and share many of her views. And I respect the fact that she doesn’t talk about her religion in public or demonizes other people. On the other hand, I can’t say the same about people like Rush Limbaugh, Huckabee, and sorry but yes, Sarah Palin.

  53. Michele Braa-Heidner says:

    cwaltz says:

    “I just know that I do believe that their is a guiding hand in the universe(from a religious standpoint I’m a mess because I don’t believe in hell and believe in reincarnation while attempting to follow the teaching of Christ which by the way is not what I was TAUGHT to believe as a child so go figure).”

    I also believe that there is a guiding hand in the universe; some kind of awareness that expresses itself through everything including us. I also do not believe in hell and I love the idea of reincarnation too. I however consider myself an agnostic because I don’t know the answer. Further, I also relate to you and other women’s frustration who think they have to settle for a religion that doesn’t acknowledge or revere them. Whenever I tried to do this within Christianity, I would feel this itch within me that the religion just could not scratch. I would feel unsatisfied and invalidated.

    The tragedy here is that we have not been presented with all the facts, alternatives to the current patriarchal religions. This is not a coincidence or an oversight, this information has been deliberately buried to keep women in a place of disempowerment.

    The truth is there is ample evidence that prior to patriarchy, there was a religion that worshiped the Mother/Goddess and/or the Earth/Gaia, where the female gender was revered. She was worshiped for thousands of years some say up to 100 thousand years and this was a worldwide religion. It was about love of the natural world, the female cycles, moon cycles, birth, death, the cycle of life. There was no concept of hell or evil or war. The Earth and all of its creatures were sacred and the emphasis was on living. Because the people saw that women were the ones who brought forth life, women were held in the highest regard.

    Then patriarchy took over when the Indo-European tribes brought with them their male God Yahweh. This God was a war God who was worshiped by a warlike people ruled by men who kept their wives as property and/or slaves. Yahweh is now known as God and is the God of the Old and New Testament. Five thousand years later, we are still in patriarchy and it is no coincidence that the mainstream religion in place supports this patriarchal system. Patriarchal or male based religions on the contrary to the Mother/Goddess religion, especially the Old Testament, focused on war and death because this is what men do. They cannot give birth, create life, but they can attain honor and power by dominating practices such as war and killing. Judaism and Christianity is a reversal of the Mother/Goddess spirituality. And a lot of the “evil” symbolism in the bible was sacred Mother/Goddess symbols, such as the snake, the tree of life and the blood of sacrifice was a reversal of the blood of life — female menstrual blood.

    I believe that the Old Testament was a book written about the war god Yahweh and then later on Jesus was inserted (the New Testament) to gain female followers in hopes of finally absorbing all of the Mother/Goddess worshipers. Jesus symbolizes feminine energy and brought a softer more loving side to the existing religion. Some even believe that Jesus was a woman according to the Gnostic Gospels. I think even today Jesus is working to recruit women into Christianity because women tend to relate to Jesus and his teachings (which are similar to Mother/Goddess teachings in many ways (except the oppressive sexuality). If you read the Old Testament you will find that before Jesus, Yahweh/God was a violent God. There was no turning the other cheek, but instead an eye for an eye. There was war, vengeance, retribution, rape you name it the violence was astounding!

    Her story has been obliterated and chased underground, buried in our societies and in all woman’s hearts. Recently, this evidence of the ancient Mother/Goddess spirituality has come to light through Marija Gimbutas’s work, a female Archeaologist. Prior to her interpretation of the evidence, anything that was found that represented the female was discarded as insignificant because most Archeaologists were men and in their biased male minds, women were insignificant.

    I can’t help but feel that if we were proactively given this information (instead of having to dig it up), we would then be able to see an alternative way to be and believe. We could then draw from both models to possibly come up with a new more balanced model. Women would feel more empowered knowing that prior to patriarchy and patriarchal religions there was a religion that respected and revered them and they would finally see patriarchy and patriarchal religions in perspective. Fortunately, women worldwide have resurrected the Goddess and are worshiping Her and themselves as divine beings.

  54. LabRat says:

    The thing is, anyone’s religion and cosmological beliefs are going to come off as silly to someone else, and even if they’re YOURS it’s pretty trivial to come up with an irreverent way to describe them. Cosmic Zombie Jew, multi-limbed animal-heads with more lives than Mario, God the hater of pigs and cheeseburgers, it’s not hard. And because faith inherently doesn’t involve a whole lot of hard logic (which doesn’t invalidate it, if we had to do everything with hard logic we’d never be able to cope with life), it can be a pretty unguarded point for mockery.

    Seeing as how religion represents the entire accumulated attempts by human culture to understand huge abstract concepts about things much too big for them to understand in bite-sized chunks, we can expect it to contain a lot of silly, as well as pretty much everything good and evil in human nature. I mean, it’s only the infinite and all, regardless of the exact nature of what’s there to understand it’s going to come out with some hugely varied results of the attempt.

    And some of it is going to sound silly, even if it’s true.

  55. Violet says:

    @53: Yahweh was not an Indo-European god. Semitic.

    In general: I’m sorry that so many people don’t appreciate how dangerous it is to have a society where religion can’t be mocked. I mean, that’s how you get Inquisitions and people being executed for heresy and, for that matter, people flying airplanes into buildings. Frankly, the more religious you are, the more committed you ought to be to freedom of expression, including ridicule. Because that’s your best guarantee against a situation where somebody else’s religion becomes sacrosanct and you’re looking at jail time or martyrdom for practicing yours.

    It’s also the best guarantee for all of us against a situation where a bunch of twits in pointy hats get to decide what we can do with our uteruses.

    As for being a feminist Christian, I too aver that this is possible. See my reference to radical feminist nuns in the post.

    Regarding Mary: she’s a domesticated goddess. She’s Artemis/Diana, mostly, but she has also absorbed the qualities of other great goddesses of the Near East. She’s a perpetual virgin because she’s independent and can create life all by herself. (And also because the patriarchal Greeks/Romans/Semites were patriarchs, so virginity signaled to them purity and freedom from male control.) But she’s also the goddess of fertility and childbirth.

    What Lexia says @33 is completely true about the domesticated Mary. That’s one side of her, for sure. But many Catholic women experience Mary differently. To them, she is and has always been an inspiring figure of awesome female power. I would recommend Charlene Spretnak’s Missing Mary for a thoughtful analysis of this.

  56. janicen says:

    If you had asked my mother, when she was alive, she would have told you she was a Catholic. She was raised in a strict Catholic household yet she rarely went to church and didn’t believe any of the church dogma. She would say those were all just rules made up by men and she was not going to follow rules that she felt were made up to control people. When she prayed, she prayed to Mary. She would say, “Why should I talk to the kid, when I can talk to his mother?” She practiced Catholicism her way, and I always respected her for it.

    I agree with the commenters who say it’s important to distinguish the leaders and the hierarchy of a religion from the practitioners. My mom was a good Catholic, even though she wasn’t a very good Catholic!

  57. lambert strether says:

    Christianity is “a very powerful and convincing mistake,” says Dr. Mary Malone in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. Yep.

  58. Violet says:

    lambert! speak of the devil! (Seriously, I was just thinking about Corrente, and suddenly here you are.)

    janicen:

    When she prayed, she prayed to Mary. She would say, “Why should I talk to the kid, when I can talk to his mother?” She practiced Catholicism her way, and I always respected her for it.

    Ding, ding, ding!!! Exactly. There is a whole women’s Catholicism that is quite different from what the Church fathers are preaching. Look at Mexico, where the vernacular worship of Guadalupe is even more pronounced than what you see in the official Church (which is already intensely Marianist, given Guadalupe’s overwhelming presence).

  59. Janis says:

    “Why should I talk to the kid, when I can talk to his mother?”

    Also: ” … it is not my civic duty to substantiate someone else’s personal revelation.”

    I laughed out LOUD at the first, and nodded at the second.

    Now, I will always consider all fairy tales that attempt to explain the parts of the world that we don’t understand as pointless. I think it’s a pathology to be so defensive and discontented when forced to say, “I don’t know.” Where do we go when we die? I don’t know. Where does thunder come from? I don’t know. Is there a soul? I don’t know. The inability to stare one’s limitations in the face is a serious problem in the human race, and it makes us act like assholes. So no, I don’t see anything particularly redeeming about our ability to convince ourselves of junk that cannot be proven. It’s a small step frmo there to believing things that can be DISproven (gay men are the majority of pedophiles, abortion causes breast cancer, Sarah Palin is the source of all evil, pick your poison). Our ability to kid ourselves in the absence of all evidence is dangerously close to our ability to kid ourselves in the face of evidence to the contrary.

    But if you HAVE to pick a fairy tale, at least keep it the hell out of my face. I’ll mock the hell out of it, but I won’t mock YOU or throw you in jail for it. That’s about all I can promise, and that’s about all you should expect.

  60. Janis says:

    BTW, yes — we do know where thunder comes from (or if we don’t we rest content in the knowledge that someone somewhere does and can explain it to us). But there’s always things we don’t know.

    That’s the beauty of a scoentific outlook, the ONLY THING in human history that has ever caused humans to act in a more civilized manner. Sure, we can still be shits to one another, but on the whole, that outlook has caused us to be more civil to one another more than any one other thing.

    I remember once when there was a spate of solar eclipses of various totalities where I live. With in a short span of years, we have something like an 85% partial, an annular, and a two-thirds partial. During the third one, I stood outside in the parking lot of my workplace with a bunch of other geeks with a cardboard box with a hole punched in one end and some copier paper taped to the other side of the interior, and we watched it.

    A bunch of other people were gathered out there — Jews, gentiles, men and women, catholics, protestants, and all skin tones. No one accused me of bewitching the sun to disappear, and the Jew wasn’t run out of town. Why was that? Why did we go from a society of people who would string up the nearest old woman or Jew to a society where all sorts can just stand there and go, “Wow! This is so cool!” while we watch a dragon eat the sun?

    Simple. We either understood what was going on or else we were happy to know that someone somewhere did. When we see other strange things in the universe, we either get it, know that someone somewhere gets it, or just rest easy in the knowledge that it’ll probably be understood at some point in the future by someone, so no sense getting all freaky about it and hunting around for the nearest Jew to light on fire. This is the gift of science — resting easy in the fact that the universe is just out there doing its thing instead of being actively conspiring against us. Even when in the throes of misery from the death of a loved one, we no longer freak the fuck out and look for a widow who witched them.

    Is it perfect? No. We still freak the fuck out sometimes and attack small countries that had nothing to do with plowing planes into skyscrapers. But we’re at least better than we were. (And the plowing planes into skyscrapers thing is still pretty heavily religion-driven, along with the whole attacking small countries who didn’t do it thing.)

    Religion, together without tendency to believe stuff that makes no sense, is a problem. I’ll take the “hm, I suppose that’ll make sense someday” approach.

  61. murphy says:

    Protecting the right (and the necessity) to mock religion mercilessly in the public square does not equate to defending the rude inclination to mock a particular religion (and, inevitably by extension, the regular people who belong) in a private setting. This blog is not private in the sense that a person’s living room is, but unless I’m mistaken the raison d’etre of the Smoking Lounge and blogs like this, with foundations of integrity, intellectual honesty, and STRONG political feminism (and the concomitant heavy comment-moderation that such a foundation will undoubtedly entail) is to create and nurture a community of thinkers and political activists for whom the Spirit Smoking Lounge is safe, reliable, and conscious of its participating members AS participating members.

    Pelting ordained priests with condoms on the steps of Saint Peter’s cathedral during the height of the AIDS crisis strikes me as the merciless mocking of religion that I want our government to protect to the death.

    Making fun of Jews for believing a talking bush told them to just say no to bacon . . . not so much.

  62. awfisticuffer says:

    Let’s not forget that in some lines of reasoning Jesus was a cosmic Jewish zombie who also impregnated his own mother with himself.

  63. madjuana says:

    Absolutely spot on, Violet.

  64. Lexia says:

    “She’s Artemis/Diana, mostly, but she has also absorbed the qualities of other great goddesses of the Near East. ..she’s also the goddess of fertility and childbirth.”

    See? That’s why the Catholic Church needs women priests – to have this kind of vision behind its laws and policies. And Janicen’s mother’s too, of course.

    But I’d still be cheering loudest for science, for all the reasons Janis @60 so eloquently stated.

  65. Swannie says:

    I have always thought that saying
    I DONT KNOW
    was THE ultimate act of spiritual courage.
    Offering answers for obesiance and giving over of power seemed lacking in individual seeking , to me .
    And if all the answers were known , how could we ever again stand on the edge of wonder , and be in awe ?

  66. Swannie says:

    And as far as I do know.. the planets revolve around the sun in traceable patterns , the moon influences the tides ,among other things ; and we somewhat evolved bipedal mammals get a free ride around the sun on the blue ball every 365 and a fraction days, and the leaves on trees convert C02 to O2 so we can breathe ….. so go ahead.. call me a tree hugger , because I enjoy breathing ;) but I believe that tree is alive and has a spirit .

  67. Northwest rain says:

    That Zombie Jesus remark is exactly how Native American religions are described — their deeply held belief system is called mythology etc. by the oh so highly educated who steal from the Indigenous their creation stories for Antro journals or dissertations etc.

    My particular favorite creation stories are from Hawaii — where I heard them around beach fires told by tutu (elders) who heard them from their tutus BEFORE the white men dominated their culture. There was no devil — evil yes — but no devil.

    In Hawaii there are jumping off places for souls. The are physical locations that the kahunas know and only the ones who can hear the cries of the lost souls can tell the recently dead where to find the jumping off places. The really bad people will not be told were to find the jumping off place. I just really like that concept — it made so much more sense to me than the evangelical BS my mom believed in.

    The Hawaiian Tutus has a very complex creation story and also a deep believe in what their after world was like. It was as if they had completely mapped out what their world was like for the souls who died. Also the Hawaiians I knew believed that everything had a soul — and there was no inanimate and animate.

    The Hawaiian belief system didn’t hate women — like the Christian belief system seems to — so that was also a plus for the Hawaiian world view.

    There are a lot of wonderful world views and creation stories found in other cultures — and the Christian/patriarchal is just ONE of many. It is full of mythology and there are some good bits — like the Golden Rule found in many other “primitive” culture. The Kahunas say that be very careful of the bad things you wish on your enemies — because it can come back to you.

    Zombie Jesus — so clear and perfect.

  68. scott says:

    I think the French essayist Montaigne had the phrase “I don’t know” caved in the stone walls of his 16th century castle. After all the religious bloodletting that he was aware of in that time, he thought a little skepticism was in order about the extravagant claims made by his peers to know the truth (and to liquidate people who disagreed).

  69. votermom says:

    I just want to note that in Catholic theology, afaik, Mary’s being a virgin (at the time of Jesus conception) is NOT her most important attribute. And she doesn’t stay a virgin obviously — she is wife to Joseph and many Church scholars accept that they had children together.
    The feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary (Dec 8) is about MARY being conceived without sin. The doctrine is that Mary was born without original so she did not pass on original sin to Jesus. She never needed baptism.
    Hence she is hailed by the angel as Mary, full of grace.
    Catholics with Marianist traditions really treat her as the Goddess, without really articulating that thought.

  70. Uppity Woman says:

    I honestly don’t care what or whom people worship. You could belong to the church of the flying spaghetti monster and that’s ok with me too. I will respect that. I just don’t want somebody’s religious dogma imposing on my rights and telling me how to live. Nor do I think religious leaders should be making laws unless I get to participate in ELECTING them. Imagine if the Sharia people had their way.

    Religions are pretty much controlled by men and they are generally pretty awful to women. Some are more awful than others, but all of them denigrate women in one form or another.

    I wouldn’t think of criticizing anyone for what they believe. But I will fight them till the last dog is dead if they try to impose their desires on me via their religious beliefs or rules.

  71. purplefinn says:

    Thanks for the “I don’t know” response. It’ so honest for me. I had a very nice exchange with two Jehovah’s Witnesses who came to my door. We shared our beliefs respectfully and parted warmly. I told them I don’t know, but that I was paying attention. We agreed that paying attention was important.

  72. purplefinn says:

    Violet says: (58)

    Ding, ding, ding!!! Exactly. There is a whole women’s Catholicism that is quite different from what the Church fathers are preaching. Look at Mexico, where the vernacular worship of Guadalupe is even more pronounced than what you see in the official Church (which is already intensely Marianist, given Guadalupe’s overwhelming presence).

    Lexia says: (64)

    See? That’s why the Catholic Church needs women priests – to have this kind of vision behind its laws and policies. And Janicen’s mother’s too, of course.

    Now this is what would be worth having an afterlife for. It surely isn’t happening in my life time. Maybe we could sign up for Instant Messages on topics of interest.

  73. bob coley jr says:

    The discussions of Other World Forwarding Services seems to follow a predictable path. Start with esoteric truths we all can get behind, move to analgesic solutions for the failure of humans to practice said truths, invent a reason to explain that failure, adopt the slogan “Don’t tread on me!”. In the end most of us get stomped in one way or another. Time for a new plan maybe?

  74. bruce nahin says:

    As the resident white conservative male feminist here…I have tried to ignore the christian baiting here for some time…this Violet is over the top…

  75. Violet says:

    It’s not baiting. Baiting implies that I’m trying to evoke a response from Christians. Hardly. I would much prefer it if humorless believers just ignored posts like this. I have no interest in quarreling with people.

    Amazing: this is my fucking blog, my personal blog, and I can’t have a laugh at religion the way I’ve been doing all my life? I swear, every single person who shows up here with lips atremble saying how dare you make fun — you’re just proving my point. What is it about religion that makes people so goddamn self-righteous and intolerant? Chill the fuck OUT.

  76. Sandra S. says:

    “What is it about religion that makes people so goddamn self-righteous and intolerant?”

    This is an excellent question. I think it’s simply that all* religions are fighting for dominance. I mean, that’s the basic structure. These are systems that assume their own dogma to be self-evident (and how circular is that? We know our god is real, because it says so in this book, which must be true, because it was written by our god). Because the dogma is true (and there’s usually a penalty for non-belief or inappropriate behavior, like worshiping the wrong god), believers are driven by altruism to try to convert the non-believers (and also to breed new church members to keep up the good work). The church as a larger structure benefits because it gains dominance- more congregants = more resources and more people spreading the meme. So basically, the structure of religion is recklessly self-replicating, with no off switch. Like cancer.

    *Bullshit- I am totally unqualified to talk about ALL religions, although I do think this is a major point for most of them

  77. Adrienne in CA says:

    For those here who’ve adapted religion to suit your values, according to a new Pew poll, you’re in good and growing company.

    Survey: Americans mix and match religions

    Large numbers attend services of traditions other than their own and blend Christianity with Eastern and New Age beliefs, a survey finds.

    and

    The build-your-own-religion findings show that “culture and pop culture and the Internet are probably more powerful teachers than Sunday school teachers,” said Scott Thumma, a sociologist at the Hartford Institute of Religion Research.

    Maryann Bogus, 59, of Kingsport, Tenn., another participant in the survey, attends an evangelical Christian church weekly and believes in reincarnation even though her church teaches otherwise.

    “My daddy told me that a long time ago, and it stuck with me because he believed it, too,” she said.

    Interesting graph and details.

    *****A

  78. Adrienne in CA says:

    Here’s the full poll, for those who want to explore.

    http://www.pewforum.org/docs/?DocID=490

    *****A

  79. GnomeDigest says:

    Having gone to a Catholic school in the south (catholic-lite) I did learn some about how the bible was written and compiled, and some church history. My teachers were actually pretty liberal, so I got what I would consider like an intro-college level course in Catholicism over my 4 years. I mean liberal like the first thing my 9th grade bible teach did when he walked in for the first class is held up the bible and said “This is not a historical text”.

    I found my teachers from then to be some of the best examples I have ever seen up close of actually living the ultimate message for Christians that Jesus put in the bible easily summed up as “Love”.

    What disappointments me most about at least Christianity as i see it around me in the US, is it just seems like most are Christians in name only. Jesus, with his messages of giving, selflessness, caring for the least among us, seems an oxymoron to a capitalist system and our eagerness to feed it.

    I find it absurdly funny to see Christians decrying the evils of socialism. To me it seems like jesus’s message was a fanatical form of socialism. How do you square capitalists “every man for himself” with jesus’s message?

    Bush flipped “turn the other cheek” into bomb and invade their ass before they have any chance to possibly slap you.

    Two wars ongoing at least in part for energy, and people around my neighborhood are putting up massive light displays to celebrate jesus. I dont mean to be a season buzkill, but thats one that doesnt sit well with me.

    The strange philosophy kinda stuff that the Urban dictionary points out doesnt bother me, though i agree that was funny as shit. Cosmic Jewish Zombie heehee..comedy gold! Seriously folks should chill out. Being able to laugh at ones self is seen as a virtue, so why not at ones own religion?

    If people believing in Christianity and Jesus’s message in the New Testament (and folks, that is Gods most updated message right? so that message should trump any old testament hate..) would actually get most of them living out more of that message, I would be a much, much happier atheist.

    Just recently was directed to your blog Violet. I have enjoyed the reading. Thanks!

  80. sun says:

    Bruce: Not as over the top as many christians who rabidly put down feminism and have done so for years.

  81. Ereshkigal says:

    I came to the conclusion a number of years ago that someone elses religion/faith/belief system can be just as important to them, if not more, than mine is to me.
    That said, I also feel that being able to see the humor in things can actually foster an air of communication and understanding between people. I am Christian, my best friend is Wicca. We often joke about the stereotypical things people complain about when it comes to religion. And because of our love and respect for each other, we are able to understand that we are not insulting each other… from there we can branch into disscusions about the differences and similarities in our individual viewpoints. Humor can be used to open lines of communication that otherwise might be to volitile to discuss. I can’t tell you how often my mom and I joke about her eventual demise! It has made it possible to learn about her final wishes without the same sting… and without waiting until it is to late to ask her.

  82. Toonces says:

    Jesus Rollerdisco Christ! I was actually really surprised by all the upset. It’s pretty clear you’re making fun of Christianity’s ridiculous denial of its relationship with paganism here, not everyone who believes in a god (I’m one of those “I don’t know” people but I respect believers and atheists both).

    I had a Christian Fundamentalist babysitter as a kid and though some of the stuff she believed was extreme, she was a very warm, extremely generous, funny, smart, beautiful person who really walked the talk and helped other people out wherever she could. She helped form my image of sort of “strict” Christianity. I think she’d get a kick out of Zombie Jesus.

    Also: Who Would Jesus Accuse of Being a Liberal Bitch?

  83. Marjorie says:

    What a great conversation! I am an old lady, a product of Scot Presbyterian ancestors – but a matriarchal bunch filled with strong opinionated women. So my grandmother was very proper, my mother somewhat proper and more independent, I less proper and more independent still and my girls are very strong independent thinkers – and hopefully their daughters will carry on the tradition.
    But in a very horrifying time of my life, I went to prayer…. and it did help to ease the psychological pain. But after the horror subsided and I was still praying – it began to feel like a superstition. ‘If I don’t pray, something bad will happen!’ So I stopped, and only good things happened, and I have never gone back. I am becoming more and more atheistic as I grow older. God knows :0) I don’t want to live forever – it would be terribly boring unless one could be tuned in and able to read blogs, and there are lots of people I definitely don’t want to meet in ‘heaven’ – and it must be such a crowded place that it makes a pre-Christmas mall look deserted.
    I’m Canadian, and we are an ungodly bunch, as are the Brits. The only really religious people I know are Americans!

  84. Nessum says:

    The Italian playwright, actor, and Nobel Laureate, Dario Fo says about his belief:
    “I’m a religious atheist. I love the unfathomable divinity of Nature. I believe that when you’re dead, you’re dead. But if you’re good at saying things you might risk being remembered for a very long time.”

    (Love your comment Marjorie!)